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BMW history: the most important models of Bavaria

BMW history
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Today the performance range of the BMW models ranges from the 115 hp 116d to 507 V10 hp in the B MW M5 or M6, which is also available as a convertible. Everything started very differently. On July 9, 1929, the company BMW, previously known only as a motorcycle and aircraft engine manufacturer, informed the public in full-page newspaper advertisements that they would from now on also produce automobiles.

From Dixi to 2000 tii

Almost at the same time, BMW presented in his new store in the center of Berlin the first model with the type designation 3/15 PS. The vernacular had quickly found a nickname for the two-door model, which was powered by a water-cooled four-cylinder engine: Dixi. The unit developed 15 PS from 750 cubic centimeters.

The 3/15 PS was not a BMW in-house development at all, but the license-built model of the Dixi 3/15 PS small car manufactured in Eisenach. That in turn was based on the Austin Seven, which had been built in England since 1922.

The first “real” BMW saw the light of day in the automotive world in 1932. The 3/20 PS was available as a closed two-door, open touring car or as a four-seater convertible. The 3/20 PS had almost nothing in common with the Dixi. A synergetic division of labor was already used in this model: the 20 hp engine was built in Munich, the body in Eisenach.

To this day, BMW is famous for its six-cylinder engines. The forefather of the current six-cylinder series is the BMW 303, released in 1933, which the first 1.2-liter in-line engine with six cylinders and 30 hp helped to achieve a maximum of 90 km /h. In addition, the 303 was the first BMW to have the kidney grille that is characteristic to this day.

Other important models followed with the 326 from 1936, which was characterized by its streamlined body and hydraulic brake system, and the BMW 328 made its debut on June 14, 1936 in a race at the Nürburgring. There the sports car immediately caused a sensation, secured victory with Ernst Henne at the wheel and underpinned the brand's immanent sporting aspirations at the time. 80 hp distributed over 830 kilograms were phenomenal for the timePerformance. The slimmed down, 780 kilogram racing version brought it to 220 km /h. By 1940, the BMW 328 had competed in 172 national and international races - and won 141 of them.

The 501 and its successor, the 502, were another important milestone in the history of BMW. At the IAA 1951 The elegant limousine made its debut and, due to its sweeping lines, it soon made a career for itself under the nickname 'Baroque Angel'. The steering-wheel-shifted gearbox sat under the front seats and was linked to a 65 hp six-cylinder. The 502 made its debut on the same platform three years later and caught the attention of experts with the world's first series-produced light alloy engine and the first German eight-cylinder in post-war history.

BMW took advantage of the boom of the early 1950s, recognized the need of the population for a small motorized vehicle with a roof and consequently developed a model from the Milan-based company Iso. The BMW Isetta was produced under license from 1955. The door opening to the front, including the steering wheel and dashboard, was characteristic. A twelve hp BMW motorcycle engine served as the drive, the top speed was around 80 km /h. In the peak year of 1957, BMW sold almost 40,000 of the Isetta, which had meanwhile increased to 13 hp.

In the same decade, another BMW model, which has also not been forgotten, entered the car stage. From 1956 the BMW 507 made the hearts of car fans beat faster. The sporty two-seater powered by a light metal V8 engine quickly found its fans - due to the high cost price of 26,500 DM, however, only a fraction of the large fan base was able to enjoy the 507's performance. Elvis Presley was one of the illustrious circle of only 253 roadster owners. If the master of the hip swing wanted it, he could let the wind blow over the great at speeds of up to 220 km /h.

In 1961, BMW launched a new model, the 1500, for the Munich also meant the start of the new middle class of automobiles. A four-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of 1.5 liters and 80 hp accelerated the 1500 to almost 150 km /h. A year later, the BMW 1800, another 90 hp sister model, came onto the market. The model range was completed in 1964 by the 1600 and 1966 by the 2000. The 2000 tii from 1969 marked the top of the model range and was the first BMW series model to have a gasoline direct injection system. The new BMW series was to develop into the most successful model series to date with 326,626 vehicles produced by 1972.

Milestones: 5 and 3 series

On the occasion of the 50th birthday of BMW AG, it made its debut on the 7th March 1966 with the BMW 1600-2 the base model of the 02 series. The abbreviation revealed: The 02 was only available as a two-door.In addition, the sporty sedan differed from the four-door models in that the roof was four centimeters lower and the circular rear lights. At the same time, production of the four-door 1600 came to an end, with which the 1600-2 shared the technical basis including an 85 hp four-cylinder engine. With its starting price of 8,650 marks, the 940 kilogram light 1600-2 was not exactly one of the special offers of the time.

In 1968, the year of political unrest, BMW introduced the 2002 and caused an uproar among car fans. The two-liter four-cylinder developed 100 hp and made the two-door a symbol of sporty driving. 1973 made its debut with the 2002 turbo, the most powerful version. An exhaust gas turbocharger mobilized 170 hp. That was enough for a top speed of 210 km /h.

In 1972 BMW founded Motorsport GmbH. Their first assignment was to create a sports car that would put all other models in this category in the shade. The end product of these efforts was the BMW M1 presented in 1978. The mid-engine sports car was powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 277 hp. He was even given the honor that seasoned Formula 1 drivers fought for fame and honor in a racing series exclusively with M1, the ProCar series.

Another Bavarian success story also began in 1972 . The first generation of the BMW 5-series presented at the IAA should be followed by four other model generations. From 1988 the 5 Series was also available as a station wagon - called BMW Touring. In 1998, the M5, the most powerful BMW series engine to date with 400 hp, provided breathtaking driving performance.

Three years after the first 5 Series, the BMW 3 Series made its debut to this day, the most successful BMW series of all time. The two-door model replaced the 02 series and introduced the famous, driver-facing cockpit design of the center console. From 1983 the 3 Series was also available with four doors, followed three years later by the Cabriolet. In 1987 BMW presented the Touring.

It was 1985 when the Munich-based company presented the sportiest version of the three-seater: the BMW M3. Like the M1, it was developed by BMW Motorsport GmbH. The four-cylinder produced 200 hp from a displacement of 2.3 liters. With an unladen weight of just 1,200 kilograms, this provided performance that was not at all known from a car of this class at the time. The original M3 quickly developed into a success with BMW dealers, primarily due to its numerous victories in motorsport. 23 years later, in 2008, BMW presented the 420 hp M3, the fourth generation of the classic sports car. For the first time, a V8 engine provides propulsion.

After the 5 and 3 series, the 7 series made its debut in 1977. The largest class from BMW came onto the market with three engine variants between 170 and 197 hp. In its second generation (1986 to 1994) there was theLuxury liner even with a twelve-cylinder engine that developed 300 hp. The fifth generation of the new 7 Series has been on the market since the end of 2008.

The BMW product range supplemented the BMW 6 Series from 1976 until the end of production in 1989. The 4.75 meter long luxury coupe was only available with six-cylinder engines. In total, BMW sold more than 86,000 vehicles.

The 6 Series was followed by the 8 Series in 1989. The engine range for the new coupé comprised eight and twelve-cylinder cylinders, and the top speed was up to 250 km /h.

Roadsters and X models

From 1988, BMW also produced roadsters Fans at their expense. The BMW Z1 caused a sensation with its plastic body and electrically retractable doors in the sills. As is typical for BMW, an in-line six-cylinder heart with 170 hp beats under the bonnet. The Z1 was thus up to 220 km /h fast. A total of 8,000 copies were built by 1991.

The Z1 was followed in 1995 by the BMW Z3, ​​which was built exclusively at the US plant in Spartanburg. At first it was only available as a roadster, and from 1998 the coupé variant followed. The engine range included four and six-cylinder engines. The coronation was the M-Roadster and M-Coupé with up to 343 hp.

In 2003, the BMW Z4 was the successor to the Z3 in the starting blocks. The roadster was available with four and six-cylinder engines. The Z4 Coupé followed later. The respective top model came once again from M GmbH. The 3.2-liter six-cylinder known from the M3 developed 343 hp. In contrast to the normal Z4, hydraulically assisted instead of electric power steering provided better feedback. Small downer: Since the M model had the battery in the trunk, the storage volume was reduced by 20 to 220 liters.

At the beginning of 2000, the company launched the BMW Z8 listen carefully. The company placed the noble roadster, powered by a 400 hp V8, in an extremely effective way as the invincible emergency vehicle of Her Majesty's agent in the James Bond film “The world is not enough”. The sports car, which cost 127,000 euros and weighed 1,400 kilograms, had an aluminum spaceframe.

From 1999, BMW expanded the model range with the X5. The all-wheel drive SUV, called SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) by BMW, has since undergone several facelifts and, like the Z3, is built at the US plant in Spartanburg.

In 2001, BMW launched the new edition of the legendary Mini which, however, operates as its own brand within the company. The small car with front-wheel drive still enjoys a cult status. Engines that come from the cooperation with Peugeot-Citroën are now also working under the short hood. There is also one of the MiniClubman version also the mini convertible.

Since 2004 the BMW 1 Series has been the entry into the BMW family. The compact Bayer is still the only vehicle in the compact class with rear-wheel drive. The four- and six-cylinder engines produce between 115 and 306 hp. At first the 1 Series was only available as a five-door model. BMW later completed the model series with the three-door, convertible and coupé.

Since 2003, the BMW X3 has also been a long-legged X-model based on the 3-series. Series divides.

Also in 2003, the BMW 6 Series celebrated its resurrection. The coupé with the long bonnet and short overhangs in its most powerful version, the M6, generates 507 hp.

The BMW X6 presented in 2008 is known by the Munich-based company as Sports Activity Coupé and stands out on the streets through its massive figure immediately. Under the hood, six and eight-cylinder engines with up to 407 hp provide power in all situations.

A large part of the company is in the hands of the Quandt family. It owns 46 percent of BMW shares. A planned closer cooperation with Daimler, which should go as far as a capital integration of the two companies, failed at the beginning of March 2009 due to resistance from the Quandt family.


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